I signed up for my first “marathon” next Saturday. Now, I’ve walked 52 K in one day over 11 hours with an hour break. I’ve run 2, (Just 2!) halfers, one 10ker and 1 5ker. I am not a racer, but I am always measuring myself against myself. But this “Viking Challenge” event is not measured by anyone–no one is out there timing you, and many of the other participants will be walking (or asleep!) when I am running (5-10 am). And thus, the track and amount of people may inhibit me from running “fast” at all, or perhaps even running. The challenge benefits local nonprofits, and is a team event where members of your team must be on the track for a full 24 hours.
Did I mention that I’ve never jogged longer than 2 hours, and I don’t think I will before showing up?
Showing up, and the constant re-commitment to SHOW UP (whether as a partner, a friend, a colleague, a I-just-started-spin-class-member) serves as the backbone of growth. So you had a bad day? So you don’t feel like it? So something comes up? Too often, it is easy to give ourselves excuses not to show up.
There has been a very long hard season of my life when I didn’t show up for myself. Skin bonned in denial, I ran away from this deep sense of failure, feeling not good enough and guilt over what I wanted in life, myself, or from others. I often ran as a way of avoiding myself.
Now, running truly is a way for me to show up for myself. For me to articulate my boundaries and have a clear goal and stick to it. When on trips, I always jog in the morning. I don’t time myself or count distances when I run traveling. When working, I run at the gym. I run at a certain pace for a certain distance goal, but the time doesn’t really matter. Although each feels different—one relaxed and freeing, one goal oriented and measured, on both of these runs, I wander. I consider, I problem solve, I regain composure and my direction and a sense of sanity and empowerment.
I believe I am in a season where I show up for myself. I am honestly present and willing to feel what I feel rather than avoid them by daily habits (the media, work, exercise, internet research about various trips). And yes, this is often uncomfortable. I must come face to face with the fact that you will judge me. I will judge me. And I will come up short. Or ahead. Sometimes deserved, others not. But I there, and I am honoring it.
I am not a person who can oblige that I “run through” whatever plagues her. I never had a problem go away after a run. And oftentimes, thinking about my problems only intensifies them. So, no, I don’t ever run through my worries, rather, I run to them. 90% of my running is about reminding myself to show up for myself. It makes me more alive and present and honest about who I am.
Running, simply, is a way of practicing myself.
There is a different sense of showing up for others—which is what the Viking Challenge promotes. When I show up “for others” professionally or personally, I am trying to put energy into the connection. Often, I complicate, I over plan, I mismanage, and basically make a lot of typos. I am way, way, way inadequate many days. But I show up. And when I do, part of the fulfillment of my work is that I often get to witness and be part of a team that is growing. Making progress.
When I show up “to others,” I reflect on my life, purpose, and activities or thoughts. These are a few people in my trusted circle, and when I am there with them, I believe that I “show up” even more. I believe that relationship makes me more authentic and willing to explore my vulnerabilities. And I push myself more to rise to meet them with passionate integrity. It’s the same thing as doing a tedious work out with a partner (think abs!)..I push myself more every time simply because social connectedness inspires me.
I am in a period of self awareness and renewed “spirituality” and clarity in my life. Not just showing up, but acting up. In this sense, I am truly leaning into this vegan diet challenge, this viking challenge, and a writing project….plus, a little spanish study on the side. I keep myself very aware of what I PUT INTO MYSELF, and that is making me very much aware of all sources of nourishment. I am finding myself visualizing my desires, what I really want not out of life, but what I want to GIVE to it…
and discovering that I have a whole lot to give.
We’ll see how it goes!